Monday, December 15, 2008

Believable Characters

We all know how important our characters are when we write fiction. Recently, at a forum in which I participate, one of the members asked "Is your fiction plot or character driven?" Almost all of the responses came back "character driven." Characters make or break our stories. If your character is unbelievable or unsympathetic, no one will want to read about him or her. How do you create believable characters? Start with small details.

  1. Consider some physical characteristic of your character. What makes him or her different? A shock of white hair at the temples? (Think Morticia of the Adams Family.) A mustache that droops over the upper lip? (Think Jim Qwilleran of The Cat Who series.) Make this physical trait an important part of who your character is.
  2. Give your character a flaw. No one likes a protagonist or an antagonist who is perfect. Your characters need a flaw whether it is physical or emotional. Your readers need to be able to identify with them.
  3. Allow your characters to embrace all five senses - include sight, sound, touch, taste and aromas.
  4. Be true to your characters speech patterns. If you've created a modern day heroine, don't have her speaking Victorian English.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for listing The Frugal Editor in you blog roll, Penny, but especially for providing such an important resource for writers. This blog is great for that!

    Carolyn Howard-Johnson